Helen
Helen Summers Brown, a 51 year resident of Hermosa Beach passed away on Tue, January 25, 2011 at her home there. She was 95 years new. She was born in the Philippines in 1915 to her American father George R. Summers and her Filipino mother Trinidad Agcaoili Summers and was the 3rd of their 7 children. Her father was a teacher assigned by President Taft's directive to establish school systems within the Philippines after that territory's acquisition from Spain at the turn of the century. Soon after her graduation from High School in the PI (1934), her family moved to the Arcadia, California and she enrolled at Pasadena Junior College. She eventually transferred to UCLA where she obtained a bachelor's degree (Educ) and master's degree (Social Work). Helen chose a career in education and taught 3rd grade in schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District. As she came in contact with more and more Filipino American schoolchildren, she remembered her own experiences when she was new to this country. She remembered her search for identity and the lack of available resources for those who wanted to know more about Filipino culture or history. Thus, she decided to lobby the school district to recognize and address the special needs of Filipino American school children. Before long, she was also lobbying in the interest of Filipino American schoolteachers, seeking to increase their number and working for their promotions. She developed such a passion for helping Filipinos both old and new to this country that she became very well known within the LA school community and her influence broadened. Helen's crowing accomplishment is her founding of the Filipino American Library in 1985 in Historical Filipino Town in LA; a resource for the expanded Filipino community within Southern California. Through the generosity of the Filipino Christian Church and outpouring of help from friends and followers, the library flourished. It was the first of its kind in the United States, and it quickly gained recognition beyond the boundaries of Southern California. It is now under the purview of its own non-profit organization status. Helen was also a dedicated mother and wife and loved traveling and gardening which she pursued with zeal in her retirement. She was predeceased by her husband of 48 years, Bill Brown Sr in 1989 and she is survived by her four sons Bill Jr, Jim (Linda), George and Mike (Annie). She has 12 grandchildren as follows and all with last name Brown; Janelle, Louis (deceased), Andy, Holly, Steven, Michael, Robin, Nicholas, Patrick, Shannon and Sam. Her older grandchildren were the beneficiaries of many trips from her passion for traveling while she was still able. Helen Brown has lived a quieter life in the past years. Sadly she acquired dementia that slowly eroded her ability to remember much of what is written here. But her personality and friendly nature have always shined though and she was always a joy to be around even at the end. Her legacy will always continue in the hearts and minds of those who know her well in her family and for the many friends, students, teachers and professionals who continue to use and benefit by her library and her contributions to their own lives. In lieu of flowers the family asked for donations to be made to the Filipino American Library (ph: 310-218-8258).

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  1. Love Thoughts & prayers are w/all her family. Aunti jae I love you & will always be here if you need me. Helen was an amazing person/gramma I had the pleasure of knowing her for the 28yrs me & Janelle have been BFF’S…1st thought that comes 2 my mind is swimming n her pool in hermosa loved it & when she sent Janelle 2 to Germany WOW.. Love to Bill (dad),Uncle George & Uncle Mike (thanx 4 taking me & J skiing for our 1st time) & Helens entire family

  2. Helen’s educational legacy will live on in the minds and hearts of Filipino American students and teachers in Los Angeles and throughout California. Her commitment and efforts to provide more and better opportunities for them will be remembered and valued by future generations.

  3. May your memories live on to keep the community alive in support of your work and sustain Filipino American Library as an institution within UCLA’s Special Collections Library.

  4. I had the honor of having met and known Helen personally, albeit only for a short time. But I did know her more through the love and reverence accorded her by my Filipino American colleagues in the Los Angeles area. Her legacy of supporting Filipino Americans in the field of education will endure. FAEAC has lost a great supporter and friend.

  5. Dear Bill, Jim, George and Mike, Your Mother has been part of our memories from our very early childhood. The special friendship that she and our Mother shared goes back to their school days in Manila where they attended Grades 1-12 at Central School. Did you know that our Mothers played basketball together during their High School years? I can still hear their laughter as they reminisced many times over the wonderful memories of their growing-up years. We are so sorry for your loss. Your Mom and Dad were very special friends. With loving memories, Patti and Del and the children of Art and Minnie Skiles.

  6. My prayers and thoughts are with your family during this time of loss and grief. Your mom was an inspiration and role model for my own studies and research.

  7. Auntie Helen was an inspiration to many generations of community advocates and activists. I was one of the lucky ones who got to really know her always positive attitude and loving spirit when it came to the Filipino American community and especially our youth. I had the great honor to produce a short video on her and the Filipino American Library… You can look it up on YouTube. God Bless Auntie Helen for all you have accomplished. Send word to our other LA Fil-Am community heroes who have gone before us, Uncle Roy Morales, Ester Soriano, Peter Corpus, and Linda Mabalot, that we will continue the struggle for social justice and human dignity. Till we meet again with God’s Grace……. All our ALOHA.

  8. Helen Brown, Bibiana Ruiz and Milafgros Aquino founded the FAEA, Inc( Filipino American Educators Association, Incorporated ) in 1974. Helen was the second president o the association following Mila Aquino. Dolly Antony, Jose Sabroso, Frances Lacebal, Art Pacho, Erick Mata, Malu Garcia Zaida Verceles and now Daniel Gumarang all became presidents of FAEA, Inc. With her very active campaign for developing awareness and preserving Filipino culture in the LAUSD through multicultural programs, Filipino students and Filipino teachers will greatly missed her. The establishment of the FILAM Library , an ever growing source of information will be “HELENS” legacy for the future..

  9. I want to express not only my condolences but my gratitude as well for Helen’s contributions to education and the Filipino American community. More specifically as a recent recipient of the Helen Brown Scholarship at USC Rossier School of Education, I am extremely appreciative of her generosity and commitment to the education of Filipinas like myself.

  10. On behalf of John V. Skiles’ Sr. family, we are sorry for your loss. Our prayers and thoughts are with your family in this saddened time. May you find peace as you keep her memories alive. Your mother was an inspiration to all.

  11. My condolences to the sons and grandchildren of Helen. As I will be in the ancestral home of Helen’s mother in August, I will make a donation to the Special Olympics Organization in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte in the name of Helen Agcaoili Summers Brown.

  12. I have always admired Helen for her leadership and contribution to the community. My sincere sympathy to all the Browns’ Family

  13. My deepest condolences to your family. Tita Helen was the one who helped me to get my first job with LAUSD. I am now an elementary teacher and continue to be inspired by her teachings. I am forever grateful for her encouraging words to a young Filipina-American. You will always be remembered, Tita Helen.

  14. Auntie Helen Brown is my mom’s (Salome’ Agcaoili Lorenzana) first degree cousin. Her mother, Lola Trining was my grandfather’s (Lolo Frank Agcaoili) sister. Although I did not grow up around Auntie Helen, she was always very sweet and gracious and very willing to share her knowledge of Philippine culture and history. Auntie Helen will be missed but her legacy will live on. Thank you God for giving us the chance to get to know Auntie Helen. Thank you Auntie Helen for caring. May you rest in peace. Love, Daisy and Rey

  15. On behalf of my family, I would like to extend Helen’s children our deepest condolences and warmest embrace. Helen, my cousin, will be missed. Beautiful, fun, summer vacations will our families in the Philippines will always be in our memories. Rest in peace, Helen, and may God keep you in the warmth of His love. Love from your cousin, Salome’ and the Lorenzana family

  16. Helen wanted a Tagalog textbook I used at UCLA years ago for the FilAm Library. Written by the man who set up the system in the Philippines for teaching Tagalog to non-Tagalog speakers.She was as determined to have it as I was to keep it. Finally,bartering,she got the book. And I got the Sheepskin Vest she was known for. It remains one of my most treasured keepsakes, of a treasured colleague. We shared many adventures.She is missed.

  17. The Pilipino American Network and Advocacy ( PANA ) expresses our condolence to the Brown family.Helen Brown served as one of the founders of our organization and sustained its growth until her retirement from community advocacy. Her contribution to the community will always be remembered by the people she touched and those who benefited from her work in the public and private sector.

  18. May happy memories of a very full life, that your Mother surely enjoyed, prevail for you all. Our condolences to you. Phil and Debbie Florida

  19. My heart is broken with this life that I have spent with my mother. But my broken heart is thankful for all the gifts from my mother and these very heartfelt condolances from my family and friends. I know she contributed her heart, mind and life for all of us but she received from you, too. Its in the great losses in my life, like Moms, that I have discovered this vast interconnection that is so vital between human beings. Its just that it is so much more visible in family and friendship. From every corner and depths of my heart, Thank You.

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